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Hong Kong airport in turmoil as protests result in 2nd day of cancellations – Axios

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Hong Kong International Airport cancelled flights for a second day, as thousands of protesters packed the departure area and blocked security gates on Tuesday, AP reports.

The latest: Police in riot gear carrying pepper spray entered the airport for the first time since the protests began, reports the Washington Post. Outgoing flight service was suspended at 5 pm as operations were “seriously disrupted,” with Hong Kong‘s leader Carrie Lam cautioning that the city was on “the brink of no return,” according to CNN.

  • Protesters defied warnings from China and Lam, gathering for a 5th consecutive day of airport demonstrations, writes CNN.
  • Paramilitary police assembled across the border in Shenzhen — a move some see as a threat to protesters, AP notes. Lam said “lawbreaking activities in the name of freedom” were damaging the rule of law.

QuoteTake a minute to think, look at our city, our home, do you all really want to see it pushed into an abyss.”

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam appeals to protesters at a news conference

Why it matters: The airport chaos marks a massive disruption to the Chinese-controlled territory’s economy since protests started in June.

  • Monday’s demonstrations prompted the Chinese government to claim the former British colony’s uprising contained “sprouts of terrorism,” raising fears China may use such language to justify a heavy-handed response or harsh charges for those detained.

The big picture: The disruption at the airport — one of the busiest in the world, with about 1,100 flights daily across nearly 200 destinations — came after riot police used tear gas on Hong Kongers in the 10th straight weekend of protests.

  • On Monday, airport authorities canceled flight departures after thousands of demonstrators packed the main terminal and bus, train and taxi exits, per Reuters.
  • Lam defended police amid brutality claims. Law enforcement told a news conference earlier that some officers posed as protesters during unrest on Sunday, according to the BBC.

Go deeper: Pro Rata Podcast: Behind the Hong Kong protests

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with more details on the demonstrations, airport developments and Lam’s comments.

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